(Photo: REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)
Pope Francis urged Christians to avoid adopting a "pick and mix" attitude when it comes to faith, speaking at the Casa Santa Marta residence for Monday morning Mass.
"This is salvation: to live in the consolation of the Holy Spirit, not the consolation of the spirit of this world," the pontiff said in his speech, according to the Vatican radio.
"Salvation is moving forward and opening our hearts so they can receive the Holy Spirit's consolation, which is salvation. This is non-negotiable, you can't take a bit from here and a bit from there? We cannot pick and mix, no? A bit of the Holy Spirit, a bit of the spirit of this world ... No! It's one thing or the other."
Pope Francis continued by reminding the congregation that people cannot serve two masters – "you serve the Lord or you serve the spirit of this world." He also talked about the Beatitudes, which are a set of teachings Jesus made featured in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and said that they cannot be understood by human intelligence alone – they need consolation of the Holy Spirit.
"They are the new commandments. But if we do not have a heart open to the Holy Spirit, they will seem silly. 'Just look, being poor, being meek, being merciful will hardly lead us to success'. If we do not have an open heart and if we have not experienced the consolation of the Holy Spirit, which is salvation, we cannot understand this. This is the law for those who have been saved and have opened their hearts to salvation. This is the law of the free, with the freedom of the Holy Spirit," the Vatican leader said.
He argued that many people have their hearts closed to salvation because they are afraid.
"He is in charge," the pope said of Christ. "And we are afraid of this because 'we want control of ourselves.'"
"This is hypocrisy: not allowing the Spirit to change our hearts with His salvation. The freedom of the Spirit, which the Spirit gives us, is also a kind of slavery, of being 'enslaved' to the Lord which makes us free, it is another freedom. Instead, our freedom is only slavery, but not to the Lord, but to the spirit of the world. Let us ask for the grace to open our hearts to the consolation of the Holy Spirit, so that this consolation, which is salvation, allows us to understand these commandments," he said.
In another homily in May, Pope Francis said that following Christ should come from the heart, and should not be treated like a career. He warned that some priests and bishops follow Jesus as a road to get higher up and gain more power, which is not what following Christ is about.
"Following Jesus is just that: going with him out of love, behind him, on the same journey, the same path. And the spirit of the world will not tolerate this and what will make us suffer, but suffering as Jesus did," the pontiff said.